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Rauner focus shifts from the Caymans to Bermuda

Friday, Aug 8, 2014

* Illinois Public Radio

Bruce Rauner says there’s “nothing sinister” about venture capital firms using the Cayman Islands as a tax shelter, but says he has never used the investment vehicle for his personal benefit. […]

Until he stepped down to run for governor, Rauner was head of a capital investment firm, GTCR, which has several investment pools there.

At an appearance at the Illinois State Fair last night, Rauner — wearing a plaid shirt, jeans and brown boots — insisted it’s a “widespread, common practice.”

“What my firm did is what many, many financial firms do and I think the majority of venture capital firms and private equity firms do, and that is - when they invest in a foreign company, a non-U.S. company, they’ll set up an investment vehicle, often in the Caymans, so that their limited partners are treated, for tax purposes, the same way as, as if it was a U.S. company.”

He ran GTCR, so if his firm made money off Caymans investments, then he personally profited.

* But the focus is shifting today to another island nation, Bermuda

The onetime head of a company tied to Bruce Rauner and an associate — men the GOP candidate for governor Thursday called “rogue employees” — have been indicted in federal court in New Jersey on charges they stole millions of dollars in a sophisticated trading fraud.

Anthony Blumberg, 49, of New Jersey, and Craig Marshall, 47, of Bermuda worked for ConvergEx Global Markets Limited, a Bermuda-based broker and subsidiary to a firm Rauner’s former private equity company helped found.

Blumberg and Marshall were indicted late Wednesday on criminal charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.

The indictment is here.

* More

“These were rogue employees at a subsidiary of a company GTCR had invested in,” Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. “The employees were fired, and ConvergEx cooperated with the investigation. What they are alleged to have done is unacceptable, and they are rightfully being prosecuted.” […]

Rauner joined GTCR in 1981 and was its chairman until stepping down in October 2012 but “had no say in hiring either of the two people,” Schrimpf said.

* Background info from the Quinn campaign…

GTCRauner formed ConvergEx in October 2006 and installed Blumberg as CEO that very month until 2011:

GTCR was the largest shareholder and controlled the board (they had more seats than any other partner)

GTCR features ConvergEx on its website as an example of a successful company:

Rauner told Chicago Magazine in 2011 that GTCR’s - his- whole business strategy was handpicking executives. Here’s the profile. Here’s Rauner’s q&a in the article:

    Q: Most private equity firms buy mature companies and unwanted divisions of large corporations, managements intact. But you seem to go out and find management and then, together with them, go buy the companies.
    Rauner: We’re in two businesses: industry research and executive recruiting. We study industries, and we network like crazy to find the superstars. Today, we’re partners with two dozen CEOs. Some we’re backing for the second, third time. It can take from six months to nine years from the time we meet someone until we actually become partners with each other.

    Q: But sizing up the executive is nearly everything?
    Rauner: A lot of reference checking. Are they winners? How did they handle failure in their careers? We go to all the trade shows. We call it the leader strategy. Deal flow comes to them. Talented executives come to them.

Key Point: Now GTCR Chairman Rauner wants to pretend he has nothing to do with the guy who was put in place by GTCRauner to be the CEO of ConvergEx from Day One when GTCR was in charge every step of the way? How stupid does he think we are?

* Background info from the Rauner campaign…

BNY and GTCR were equal investors in Convergex. Convergex though was staffed with BNY executives. As shown below, Blumberg was already with BNY and had been since 2002. He came with the deal.

    Anthony Blumberg Came Into Convergex From Bank Of New York-Mellon. “BNY ConvergEx management includes Velli, Kerry Pack, John Meserve, Anthony Blumberg, George Costafos and Charlie Raphold from BNY. The trading grossed $297 million last year. Tom Gavin, David Quinlan and Jeff Shoreman make up the Eze contingent. The vendor grossed $43 million last year. Much of that is recurring or commission-like coming from routing orders to brokers. Goldman Sachs, previously a large owner of Eze Castle, does not have a stake in BNY ConvergEx. Operations will be split between New York and Boston, Eze’s current headquarters. The deal is expected to close this year.” (Peter Chapman, “BNY ConvergEx Eyes Hedge Funds with Eze Merger,” Traders Magazine, 8/1/06)

    Anthony Blumberg Originally Worked For Credit Lyonnais, And Then Bank Of New York-Mellon, Before Joining Convergex. “Prior to the formation of ConvergEx Group, Mr. Blumberg served as a Managing Director at Credit Lyonnais Securities where he established G-Trade Services, one of the world’s largest global portfolio trading groups, which was later acquired by The Bank of New York and became a part of BNY Securities Group in 2002.” (“Our Leadership Team,” Archived Convergex Webpage, 2/10/11)

…Adding… More from the Rauner campaign…

(T)he Quinn fact sheet you just put up on ConvergEx is false and intentionally misleading. It’s not a typo, the Quinn campaign has repeatedly tried to mislead the public over the last 16 hours by claiming Mr. Blumberg was the CEO of the entire CovergeEx company to give the false impression that he was hired by or otherwise directly connected to Bruce Rauner.

That’s simply false. He was the CEO of a subsidiary to ConvergEx who was hired by Bank of New York Mellon in 2002, four years before GTCR invested. Additionally, GTCR was not the “largest shareholder” of Convergex. It was an equal investor with BNY Mellon, which is why the firm’s and its subsidiary’s leadership, including Blumberg, came over from BNY Mellon.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - South of Sherman - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    At what point does the glut of “rogue employees” in Rauner’s private companies start to raise red flags about the management style he would use as governor?

  2. - Jimmy - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    Great, what Illinois needs now is another Governor in trouble with the Feds. Between this and his “donation” to Walter Payton High School, Rauner certainly is giving public corruption watchdogs a lot to scrutinize these days.

  3. - so... - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:12 am:

    Sorry, Brooke and co., the very first line of your “research” is wrong. Convergex’s CEO was a dude named Joseph Velli (who has not been charged with anything). Blumberg was the head of a subsidiary.

  4. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    ===Convergex’s CEO===

    I think that’s just a typo. She meant ConvergEx Global.

  5. - Commander Norton - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:15 am:

    I’m fairly certain Bermuda is not located in the Caribbean. It’s actually about due east of Charleston, South Carolina.

  6. - OneMan - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:16 am:

    == At what point does the glut of “rogue employees” in Rauner’s private companies start to raise red flags about the management style he would use as governor? ==

    About the same time being Lt. Governor and standing up for a guy who was convicted of multiple felonies is….

  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    Commander Norton you are absolutely right. I’m embarrassed by that mistake. Sheesh. Fixed. Thanks!

  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    To the Post,

    The accountability that Rauner accepts, versus what is expected is just mind-blowing.

    Rauner has been successful at everything he has ever done an built successful businesses…except when he hasn’t?

    Rauner gets only a portion of the credit for all his successes, and just a portion of all these failures.

    That’s a part of living and honest life, or bring honest about how you live your life.

    No extremes. No absolutes. No worries then how you are seen.

  9. - William j Kelly - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    I am starting to wonder if rauner has ever meet any of his employies (rouge or otherwise) or if rauner has any hands on experience with his ‘business’ at all! The Republican Party really needs to get a grip and demand rauner step aside. replace rauner now!

  10. - Snucka - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    For a guy who wants to hold Pat Quinn accountable for everything that happens in Illinois government, Bruce Rauner is very selective in the responsibility he takes for what happened while he was at GTCR.

  11. - William j Kelly - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:34 am:

    Bruce rauner the Rahmchurian candidate!

  12. - Rod - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:41 am:

    This story about Rauner’s choice of leaders for firms he controlled is relevant to his leadership skills, just like the choices that have gone bad made by Quinn. In this regard voters will have to decide who is worse, I think Rauner was worse.

  13. - PublicServant - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    Expect to see those two working a IDOT if Rauner wins.

  14. - walker - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    Bermuda provides other regulatory and taxation relief, and some opacity. There are plenty of decent business and finance folks who use multiple “havens”,(probably about a dozen locales all told) but the few bad operators can flourish in them.

    If your business includes breeding and feeding crocodiles, well, they can bite you.

  15. - Chris - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    “if his firm made money off Caymans investments, then he personally profited”

    And so did the state pension fund that was invested in GTCR funds.

  16. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:59 am:

    Sgt. Schultz is still talking about the Caymans. How hard is it to answer every question: “Pat Quinn’s failure to……

  17. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    “For a guy who wants to hold Pat Quinn accountable for everything that happens in Illinois government, Bruce Rauner is very selective in the responsibility he takes for what happened while he was at GTCR.”

    Well said and great point.

    Some Rauner supporters have been overcome by the hallucinatory fumes of Rauner’s statements on how he’ll run Illinois. It’s only fair to look at the entire business picture, and that includes management of the nursing homes and long-term care homes.

  18. - A guy... - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    === Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    Commander Norton you are absolutely right. I’m embarrassed by that mistake. Sheesh. Fixed. Thanks!===

    Here’s a related bonus question to make up for the Bermuda miscue….Where is the island of Kokamo?

  19. - PoolGuy - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    A guy - Indiana?

  20. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Which raises the side question, would people look at this despicable deed and think its bad, or would they think this is just the way you make money today….

    Antecdotally I have been surprised by people who seem to have a strong reaction to Governemnt corruption; but not so much outrage when it comes to the private sector.

  21. - Conservative Republican - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    ==Antecdotally I have been surprised by people who seem to have a strong reaction to Governemnt corruption; but not so much outrage when it comes to the private sector.==

    The reason for my lessened outrage is 1) no proof of any contemporaneous knowledge of any wrongdoing by the “rogue employee”– they came to the table with hefty financial industry resumes. 2) the guys are under federal indictment which means almost certain prison time at most and very hefty legal fees at least– why any outrage when they are getting their just desserts? 3) Why don’t you prove to me that government corruption crimes are more vigorously addressed and prosecuted than “private sector” crimes? I don’t think you can.

  22. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    === 3) Why don’t you prove to me that government corruption crimes are more vigorously addressed and prosecuted than “private sector” crimes? I don’t think you can. ===

    thats lopw hanging fruit…. how many Governors are in jail from il, and how many execs from the large financial institutions who collapsed the economy are in jail.

  23. - A guy... - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    === PoolGuy - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    A guy - Indiana?===

    Ding ding! who knew PoolGuy was also a BeachBoy? lol

  24. - walker - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    What counts politically is public perception.

    For many, the term “corrupt” covers a wider range of activities than “criminal.” Giving your relative a government job, might be accomplished legally, and still be seen as corrupt. A crime depends on the law and jurisdiction.

    For me, unfairly cornering a market in a country without strict market participation regulations, or misleading other market participants by withholding pertinent financial information, in a country without serious disclosure requirements, are “corrupt” because they harm or prevent efficient free market operations, — even though they might not be “criminal.”

    One of the ways to consistently make higher returns is to take greater risks. That’s how it works in an “efficient” free market. Everyone knows that.

    Another route to consistently higher returns, without apparently taking greater risk, is by evading normal regulation or by cramping or manipulating markets in ways that wouldn’t be acceptable in the USA. The reach of our laws does not extend in every case.

    “Ugly” or “wrong” or “unfair” are terms broader still, but those perceptions have political impact.

    We’ll see how well the Rauner team can avoid the potential image traps associated with where he invested much of his or his clients’ money. This is beyond any problems they might have with his wealth alone.

    So far they are doing well, but it’s a difficult spot.

  25. - JS Mill - Friday, Aug 8, 14 @ 3:55 pm:

    Rauner sees corruption through two different lenses, the corruption of others and, his actions. If someone he is opposed to does something he does not like, they and their actions are corrupt. If he does something that others may find questionable or outfit corrupt, the Rauner response is that it is common practice ( moral relativism) or the organization is too big/ I can’ t be held accountable for every employee (the buck does not stop here).

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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